Coronavirus: if you need help

Coronavirus: what if I need help?

There is always help available in Buckingham.

Information about Coronavirus is being updated rapidly. To keep up to date with current and accurate information stick to trusted sources; visit the NHS coronavirus page which has information about the virus, symptoms, self-isolating, and travel.

Food and essentials

If you are in isolation or advised to stay at home you may be worried about how to get food and other essentials going forward. As a first option, always choose to ask someone you know personally and trust (or a business you trust) for help with food deliveries or prescriptions.

If you are able to afford food, but having difficulty getting a delivery slot, you can ask the Buckingham Support Network if a volunteer may be able to deliver essentials to your house.

For information on which local businesses are doing home deliveries and/or collection please visit https://www.facebook.com/cllrwarrenwhyte

Downloadable self-isolating poster and high risk household poster for deliveries.

Is your local business now offering a delivery service for essentials in Buckingham? Contact us on office@buckingham-tc.gov.uk to be added to the list. Please provide a link to your website or offer.

Lots of local businesses are launching new delivery services to help those in need have essential items delivered to their door. Including:

If you are not sure, please call and ask.

Restaurants and takeaways delivering:

It's not just food - all kinds of shops are offering home delivery:

Buckinghamshire Council can arrange food parcels for those shielding who are unable to access food, to apply, call the main switchboard on 01296 395000 and ask for help.

Medical Help

If you think you may have Coronavirus and need medical help, please use the NHS 111 symptom checker service for help. 

If you have questions for The Swan Practice about prescriptions or appointments, please check their website which is being kept up to date with the latest news.

Pharmacies are all operating on different opening hours in order to keep up with the demand for prescriptions. They may have longer lunch breaks or open later and close earlier. This helps them ensure everyone gets their medication.

Please do not call for information or queries - this delays everyone's prescriptions. Instead check the website for updates and opening hours before you visit. 

Some people are considered at very high risk of severe illness if they catch Coronavirus (Covid-19) These people should have received a letter from the government highlighting them as vulnerable, and giving them advice on actions to take over the coming months. If you are not sure if this includes you or someone you care for, there is more information on the government website.

A small group of these people have been identified as extremely vulnerable. The advice for this group is different. Extremely vulnerable people are advised to 'shield' which includes staying home for at least 12 weeks from the time they receive their letter. Many companies have therefore said that they will prioritise those classified as extremely vulnerable for access to deliveries, including Sainsbury's.

If you have not received a letter, but think you should have, you can still register with the government as an extremely vulnerable person on their website or by calling the helpline on 0800 0288327. This is particularly important if you think you may need help getting deliveries of food or essentials, and will help you access food deliveries.

There are a number of other groups offering additional help and advice to those shielding:

  • Buckingham Hub runs from Buckingham Library and can offer support coordinated by Buckinghamshire Council including emergency food parcels.
  • Prevention Matters offer help and advice
  • If you are concerned about an extremely vulnerable person who might need help, call Buckinghamshire Council on their a 24 hour phone number – 01296 383 204 – this number is specifically for calls relating to coronavirus only.
  • Buckinghamshire Adult Social Care team are also reaching out to vulnerable people they are aware of. If you know of someone who might need their help, call the Adult Social Care team on 01296 383 402.
  • Downloadable high risk household poster

A new mental health helpline has been launched for those living in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. The helpline runs in a similar way to 111. People can call when they need to find out when and where to get help and to access support from mental health professionals.

Adults: 01865 904 997

Children and young people: 01865 904 998

When someone is seriously ill or injured, or in an acute confused state, call 999.

Transport

If you are an elderly or vulnerable bus pass user, Buckinghamshire Council has asked all bus companies to accept bus passes at any time of day so that you can access early opening hours for shops. For updates on bus timetables you can check the Buckingham Council buses page.

If you work for the NHS and are currently not able to get to work due to public transport or car problems, Bucks Self Drive are offering short term free hire.

Financial Problems?

Many people's lives have changed hugely over the last few weeks. If you are now having financial problems and need help and advice there are places you can turn for help.

The long running Buckingham Food Bank and the newer Buckingham Athletic Emergency Food Centre are able to provide food to those in financial need through referral systems.

The Buckingham Foodbank is available for anyone in North Buckinghamshire struggling with food poverty. Please get in touch with Buckingham Citizens Advice Bureau who can refer you to the foodbank.

As well as being able to refer families and individuals to Buckingham foodbank, Citizens' Advice can also help with any questions or difficulties you may have regarding:

  • Managing money
  • Debt
  • Benefits
  • Housing
  • Employment

If you are concerned about paying your bills, as a first step we recommend contacting your usual providers and asking what support they may be offering at this time.

If you think you might be eligible, we recommend you apply for Universal Credit as soon as possible. We are hearing reports that phone lines are very busy and calling outside of peak times may help. Telephone: 0800 328 5644

Get everything you will need to apply ready for your application before you try and claim.

The government advice pages can tell you more about Universal Credit.

Coronavirus Scams warning

Stay safe everyone, if you are concerned that you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud please contact: Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and contact your bank.

For advice call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 11 33

 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

There are grants available from the government for self-employed people. Please check the government website for more information and how to apply.

Grants

Buckinghamshire Business First, Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Buckinghamshire Council have been working on local programs to help support struggling local businesses. Visit Bucks Business First for more information.

Grants of up to £5,000 are available

  • To support businesses to invest in professional services which will provide essential support and identify opportunities to increase business resilience.

Grants of up to £10,000 are available

  • To support businesses that do not qualify for government support or to provide the difference in value where national support can be provided.
  • To support businesses who wish to switch production or re-direct resource to support national need.
  • To enable businesses to invest in measures that will improve business resilience.

These grants are only available to businesses based in the Buckinghamshire Council area. Eligibility criteria apply.

To find out more about these grants, visit the COVID-19 Business Resilience Fund page.

Other Buckinghamshire Council Grants

This above fund is a separate scheme to the £10,000 grants for businesses in receipt of the small business rate relief and the rural rate relief, and the grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. Those funds are being delivered directly by Buckinghamshire Council. To find out more, please visit the Buckinghamshire Council Business Support Hub.

Buckinghamshire Council offers a Local Emergency Fund, this can help residents of Buckinghamshire in need with access to food banks, food vouchers and meter top ups.

You can also contact the Council by calling 01296 395000 to ask about government food boxes which are being delivered to those considered Extremely Vulnerable.

Coronavirus: help with social activity during self-isolation

Tourist Information Centre/Shopmobilty

Both Shopmobility and the Tourist Information Centre have closed their offices, however the phone lines are still open to enquiries. Please pass this phone number: 01280 823 020 to anyone without access to the internet for help with inquiries about Buckingham, from public transport to what shops are open and more, the Tourist Information Centre team will try and find you answer.

Going into self-isolation can feel intimidating. We've talked about the practical side above, but staying mainly or totally at home for two weeks or twelve can still be part of a community effort. Mind has advice about looking after your mental health while in social isolation, and on social media we have seen lots of ideas for ways to keep entertained.

The Town Council may have had to postpone or cancel local events, but there are lots of wonderful group events continuing across social media platforms, from virtual Choirs to exercise classes and art projects. Share your efforts and make new connections with others trying the same things.

We love Isolation Examination! Buckingham's own weekly quiz. Follow them on Facebook to join in every Wednesday at 8pm.

Two facebook groups are also advertising online events:

Video calling is a great way to get in touch with people, with several different platforms offering video calls for free - if you haven't tried them before it's a great time now.

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